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Dilli, Altrincham, review

Jonathan Schofield goes to Altie and likes the Indian specialist

Written by . Published on June 1st 2011.

Dilli, Altrincham, review

Smug city centre foodies and booze lovers forget about the suburbs, Dilli reminds us we shouldn’t.

The mains that followed provided a conveyor belt of quality that kept delivering delights. Many of these were finger foods to be eaten with parathas and handfuls of rice.

The seven year old Altrincham Indian is a proper Indian in that it’s not Pakistani. This is not to disparage a Pakistani or Bangladeshi interpretation of the Subcontinent’s food just that it’s pleasant to get another accent on the grub.

The only way to enjoy these different flavours is to ask the boss, Ravi Bajaj, or one of his excellent waiters, to bring you their choice. Throw the menu away and ask the people who work at Dilli to direct you: and not only in what to choose but also how to eat the food, with fingers for example, or wrapped in parathas.

Dilli 008.JPGFirst our little group had some poppadoms (£2) adorned with red onion and coriander that were fine just like that. These babies were exquisitely flavoured and put together, moist and delightful and light as a hot air balloon over a wheat field riding the thermals.

The chutneys at a quid each were equally good, top marks to the mint version, with its proportions of mint, garlic, coriander, red onion and so forth deliciously balanced.

Balance was the hallmark of the meal.

A starter of spicy marinated prawns (£7.95) grilled on a skillet with mustard seeds and curry leaves was simply exceptional, hot, spicy and subtle at the same time with the bite and the texture of the curry leaves a real bonus.

A parsi fried fish (£6.20), cod, coated with rice flour suffused with spices, smelled wonderful and came with that mint dip again. Another five star dish.

The delicacy of the starters was interrupted by the lamb chops adraki (£7.95), these came with a big ginger flavour courtesy of a marinade, that was almost too big given the firm delicacy of the earlier dishes.

The mains that followed provided a conveyor belt of quality that kept delivering delights. Many of these were finger foods to be eaten with parathas and handfuls of rice.

The veggie dish of ‘Benarsi Petha’ is described as ‘red pumpkin Bhurta tempered with panch phoran finished off with fresh coriander’. I have no idea what this means although I do know that the mix of pumpkin, coriander and the spice blend of panch phoran (there must be fenugreek in there, there must be cumin, there must be loads of other things) was again a dish of wonder.

I even took some of this home in a carton. In the morning I loaded it onto thin toast for a lively breakfast.

Other stars were the Kozi Chettinad chicken curry (£9.99), the Dal Makani (£5.55) and the dish with the longest name the Hari Mirchi Ka Kheema ur Mutter Tak-A Tak (£10.95).

The latter was lamb mince with green chilli and peas that was again a cracker when wrapped up in a paratha. The dal dish, was a challenge spooned up on its own with a harsh tang from being simmered for hours over charcoal. The advice from the locals was to eat it with a paratha and the result was a much better flavour.

Dilli 026.JPGThe boys finished us off with a lovely collection of carrots and almonds that came sailing in on a brandy-snap style basket. Carrots in a dessert, crazy, creative and effective. 

I’d only been to Dilli once before and that was for some launch or other - the restaurant also does cookery classes.

Maybe it’s the dowdy brown facade of the place that’s kept me away, good design is important.

Maybe it’s the restaurant’s position in a narrow canyon of an Altrincham Street filled with oppressive Victorian shop terraces.  (Also after seven years, the interior of Dilli needs a good sprucing up, a thorough re-pointing and re-painting).

The doubts seem silly now, notwithstanding the grim exterior. Given the excellence of the food I’ll be grabbing a tram and winging it down there for a bit of pumpkin pleasure and curry leaf compassion as soon as I get chance. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

60 Stamford New Road
Altrincham 0161 929 7484/927 9219
WA14 1EE


Rating: 15/20
Food: 8.5/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 2.5/5


Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Graham KingJune 1st 2011.

Still the benchmark ... after all these years.

pollolocoJune 2nd 2011.

Has set the standard over the years......could really do with a makeover though......what's with the curtain at the entrance???

Alison AbbottJune 2nd 2011.

Absolutely agree, this place is fantastic, food always consistently good ... just a shame there is no atmosphere as this does detract from what is a fantastic Indian restaurant.

AnonymousJune 3rd 2011.

Great place love it dearly

Michael GleaveSeptember 2nd 2011.

Went to Dilli on Thursday night, sullen Waiter showed us to Table and thrust Menus at us. Three Men on next Table obviously not happy with place left before ordering food. Opened Menu, pages stained with food! Place smelt of drains, decided to follow example of others, got up and left. Had looked forward to Meal at Dilli having read rave reviews, but decided to go elsewhere.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Tina BoardmanFebruary 27th 2012.

Went to Dilli on Saturday night with 5 friends. We had booked a table for 8.30 and arrived exactly on the dot of 8.30 to be told our table would be ready in 5 minutes. There is no bar area so we had to stand by the coat rail in full view of the diners - 5 minutes turned into 15 minutes and we were still waiting when a group of 6 people walked in and were taken straight away to a table that had finally been cleared away for our group!!! We kicked up a fuss and eventually after a 25 minute wait for which we had to stand the whole time we were seated with no apology or an offer of a free drink. Eventually though after we complained we were given a free bottle of wine. We found all the waiters to be sullen and not very attentive at all - lots of people were complaining about the service and the long waits for orders to be taken. But what finally did it for us was when one of our group found a long hair at the bottom of the basket of poppadoms!! Not one of us will ever go back to Dilli again - ever!

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